Coronavirus: Manchester wedding party organiser fined £10,000 for breaching restrictions
26 September 2020, 12:48 | Updated: 26 September 2020, 15:12
A wedding party organiser has been fined £10,000 for breaching coronavirus rules in Manchester.
Police received reports of a large gathering at a wedding party in a licensed premises in the Longsight area of the city earlier this week, and arrived to find about 70 people present.
Officers said guests initially refused to leave the Manchester venue.
Current coronavirus restrictions allow a maximum of 30 people at a wedding in England - and this drops to 15 from Monday.
The organiser of the event was given a £10,000 fixed penalty notice for breaching legislation - the first of its kind issued by Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Superintendent Chris Hill said: "This blatant disregard for public health is totally unacceptable and meant we had no alternative but to issue the maximum penalty for breaching the legislation on large gatherings."
A closure notice authorised by Greater Manchester Police, Manchester City Council and other authorities has been served with immediate effect, meaning the premises must remain closed for at least a week, subject to review.
Superintendent Hill said: "I hope this sends a clear message to both individuals and licensed premises that there is zero tolerance for the organisation of these kinds of events without permission from local authority, and we will respond in the necessary way to reports of such incidents.
"This is a challenging time for all of us but we have to ensure we are working together to reduce the risk posed by the spread of COVID-19 and while we thank the majority for continuing to do so, we will carry on enforcing the legislation where necessary against the minority who aren't."
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Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, said: "In this case it was clear that immediate enforcement action had to be taken.
"For so many people to be congregating in this manner flies in the face of every single public health message we have been making for more than six months.
"It is deeply concerning that the owner allowed such a reckless event to take place."